Part 2 of 4, (Click to View Part 1)
As promised, it’s time to delve into the three parts of Bob Murray’s 3 Point Plan for the Anaheim Ducks. Starting with part 1: get bigger.
“In an attempt to get a little bit faster in the way the game was supposedly being played at the moment, we got smaller. And we need to get bigger, again, and you can’t do that unless somebody goes and somebody new comes in.”
Well that pretty much sums up the Lubomir Visnovsky trade right there doesn’t it? Lubo last year showed that he was getting older and becoming more injury prone, and his incredible offensive output from just a year before dropped significantly. Now I know some may blame the system he was playing in, (more on that in the next article in this series), and the talent he was surrounded by, but getting older is getting older, (unless of course you’re Teemu Selanne).
With all that aside let’s talk about Lubo purely from a size perspective shall we? Lubo is 5”10”, and listed at 197 pounds. Since trading Lubo, (for a second round draft pick), Anaheim has added Sheldon Souray, (who is 6’4”, 237 lbs.), and Bryan Allen, (6’5”, 229 lbs.) to the blue line. That’s a significant size upgrade from Lubomir Visnovsky.
It would be wrong to forget other significant additions to the lineup who also help in terms of size, perhaps most notably recent fan favorite, Daniel Winnik. Winnik is listed at 6’2”, 213 lbs., and adds great size to a third line that most often consists of Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano, both under 6 feet and 200 pounds. We’ve already seen those three guys clicking, and don’t discount Winnik’s physical presence as part of the reason why.
Guys like Emerson Etem, (6’1”, 210 lbs.), and Devante Smith-Pelly, (6’0”, 225 lbs.), certainly help as well, and we can’t forget Brad Staubitz, (6’1”, 203 lbs.), brought in to help replace some of what we lost with George Parros.
In short, the Ducks look much bigger with the guys they have coming up in the system, as well as the off-season acquisitions. The question then is, does this really help the Ducks?
It’s rare for a team to go deep into the playoffs without both mental and physical toughness. Despite their talent, the Vancouver Canucks have been criticized for years as being too soft, and perhaps it’s the reason they still haven’t won the cup. Should we then be surprised that some of Vancouver’s more recent moves have been attempts to add toughness?
Look at the Zack Kassian/Cody Hodgson trade for instance. Both are great players, but the Canucks traded Hodgson in order to get Kassian, who is 4 inches and 25 pounds larger than Hodgson. Should we be surprised? I think not.
The Ducks got destroyed in their own end last year, and the team’s size had much to do with it. With it however the reality was revealed that most of Anaheim’s defensive corps last year was not meant to play in shut-down roles. Cam Fowler, for example, needs to play good defense, no doubt, but he is at his best when playing along a shut-down defender, who then allows him to jump into the offense when possible.
In other words, last year we not only lacked size, but we were trying to get players to play in roles they weren’t really suited for. Trading Lubo and acquiring Allen and Souray however, changes that.
So Part 1 of Bob Murray’s plan to improve Anaheim makes perfect sense. In the aforementioned video Murray alludes to the fact that when the Ducks won the cup they were a larger team, and in order to get back to the cup, they need to regain that size. It all makes sense, and while it may not be an overnight process, the 2012 offseason proved it could be the start of good things to come in Anaheim.
So, do you agree or disagree? Was trading Lubo a horrible move, especially considering all we got back was a second round draft pick? How about signing Souray and Allen? Did we overpay? Are they too old? Or could it be Bob Murray is proving the petitioners wrong? Please feel free to share with the class.